Ghana and Japan on Friday signed a Memorandum of Understanding to explore the possibility of the establishment of a large scale methanol plant in Ghana using the country's newly found oil resources.
Methanol is an alternate fuel for internal combustion and other engines, either in combustion with gasoline or used directly. It is used in racing cars in China and other Asian countries.
The signing ceremony took place in Tokyo, Japan, on the sidelines of the state visit of Ghana's President John Evans Atta Mills to that country.
Ms Hannah Tetteh, Minister for Trade and Industry and Dr Joe Oteng-Adjei, Minister for Energy, signed for Ghana, while Mr Ken Hattah, Executive Officer, Member of the Board, Advisor to the President on Forest Products and Chemicals Group, and Mr Motoo Uchiyama, Executive Officer and Chief Operating Officer of Plant and Machinery Division of Marubeni Corporation, signed for Japan.
Under the agreement, feasibility studies for a period of one year would be conducted after which the Japanese private sector would be engaged on the project.
It would use largely the country's oil and gas resources.
In a brief comment after the signing, Dr Oteng-Adjei said there was the need to use the gas to facilitate the development of other industries to propel the national development programme.
He said Ghana was moving into the area of petrochemicals with the discovery and exploitation of oil in commercial quantities.
Dr Oteng-Adjei expressed the hope that feasibility studies would be sped up alongside with quality work so that Ghana would move into the next stage for the development of the methanol industry.
"We look forward to working with you to make this a reality," Dr Oteng-Adjei said.
(From Benjamin Mensah, GNA Special Correspondent, Tokyo, Japan)